Friday, July 2, 2010

Fabulously Fierce Friends, Erin

1. Who are your role models - food related or otherwise?
Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa is my food related idol. She kicked her boring day job (at the White House no less) to the curb and followed her heart to buy and run a specialty food and catering shop on Long Island. The food she cooks is very simple but really maximizes what the right combination of the right ingredients can create, and you can tell cooking really makes her happy. I am also pretty into Jacques Pepin and my older brother Kevin.
2. What is your drink of choice?
Champagne, please.
3. What is your favorite cookbook or other food related book?
Mastering the art of French Cooking, obviously. The basic skills and detailed instructions can make a chef out of anyone. Mastery of just a handful of the recipes in this collection translates to eating like a king for a lifetime!
4. What was your most memorable meal and why?
It would have to be the birthday dinner I made for my mother’s 40th (approximate) birthday, probably one of the first times I cooked for a crowd. I made a whole beef tenderloin with roasted asparagus and potatoes au gratin; a meal complied of the most classic of dishes but everything came out perfect. Along with my newly found talent for cooking, this meal was the first time I realized that cooking for the people I loved made them feel loved. The satisfaction I felt from this realization was so pleasant that I very quickly morphed into one of those people that love you with food.
5. What is your favorite kitchen gadget or tool?
Spoon – mix, stir, and most importantly food to mouth vehicle.
6. If you had to make dinner with ingredients at your home right now, what would you make?
I try to be well stocked at all times, so my response to this might be a bit unfair. I would make Tilapia with tomato sauce – super easy to put together. Pan-sear a couple of tilapia filets in olive oil until they are just about cooked through, remove from pan and set aside. Sauté a whole onion sliced with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Add in one can of stewed tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes with green pepper and celery if you have them on hand). Sauté for a few minutes. Add in about a quarter cup of warm water. Add in a few tablespoons of dried parsley (or a handful of fresh). Gently put fish back in sauté pan and nestle into the sauce. Add in a large handful of chopped kalamata olives, and sauté for a few more minutes. So quick, so satisfying, and so delicious!
7. What kind of music do you like to listen to while you cook?
Anything, as long as it is loud enough to drown out my singing!
8. What is your philosophy on cooking and eating?
Relax, enjoy and eat what you like.
9. Are there any foods you can not stand to eat?
I know what I am about to say may disturb some of your audience, but I just don’t like foie gras. I try and try and hope that someday I will be part of the secret club that can’t get enough of the stuff, but I just don’t enjoy it.
10. If you could use any super power in the kitchen, what would it be and why?
I am never short of amazed when I see someone detect the temperature of meat with just a prod of their finger, so I would ask the super power grantors that my fingers be as talented.